Alphabet soap

Due to other commitments, I’ve had to put my DIY projects and ideas on the back burner for a while. So imagine how happy I was earlier this week when, for the first time in months, I was able to spare an afternoon for a spot of DIYing! And what better way to celebrate this mini joyous occasion than to make a few soapy gifts for some dear friends, to mark (belatedly) the (infinitely more) joyous occasions of their weddings?

love

Resembling gummy alphabet sweets, these soap letters look good enough to eat!
Resembling gummy alphabet sweets, these soap letters look good enough to eat!

Ingredients and tools

  • clear SLS-free melt-and-pour soap*
  • white SLS-free melt-and-pour soap*
  • a selection of different-coloured mica
  • essential or fragrant oils of choice (note: the total amount of oils you put in should not be more than 2% of the total weigh of the soap)
  • a silicone alphabet mould
  • a heatproof measuring jug
  • a small saucepan
  • a heatproof stirrer
  • rubbing alcohol

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*I’ve not specified how much soap to use as it depends on the size of the letter-shaped cavities in your mould and how many letters you want to make. The cavities in the mould I use have a depth of 2cm, a height of 5cm, and a width of between 1cm to 4cm depending on the letter shape. For my soap letters, a 60g cube of M&P soap base can make  3 to 4 letter ‘halves’ (i.e. one layer), depending again on the shapes of the letters.

Steps (for making two-layer soap letters)

Before you start: If you wish to create soap letters with a white base, remember – the letters in the mould are reversed, so the coloured mixture for the top layer goes into the mould first.

  1. First, decide which colours you would like for which letters. It’s easiest to do all the letters in the same colour first. (Less washing up to do!)
  2. Cut the M&P soap into cubes.
  3. Place the cubes in a heatproof measuring jug and melt in a microwave (in 15-second bursts). Do not boil the soap.
  4. Take the jug out of the microwave, and carefully place it in a saucepan filled one-third with hot water simmering over a stove on low heat.
  5. Gently stir the mixture, taking care to ensure it doesn’t boil or start to bubble (if it does, turn off the heat).
  6. Once the soap base has melted completely, take the measuring jug out of the saucepan and dry its base. Leave to cool for 30 seconds, but keep stirring the mixture so it doesn’t harden.
  7. Once the mixture has cooled down (i.e. the jug is warm but not hot to touch – and the mixture should still be liquid), add in the mica (you only need a tiny pinch each time). Stir to mix everything together, and watch as the mica stains the liquid soap base. Add more mica if you want a more intense colour. Spray a bit of rubbing alcohol into the mixture to stop the mica from clumping together.
  8. Now add in the essential or fragrant oil(s), and give the mixture a final stir.
  9. Carefully but quickly, pour the mixture to fill half of each letter cavity.
  10. Spray rubbing alcohol on top of each soap letter to burst any bubbles forming inside the soap.
  11. As soon as you have completed the first layer of your soap letters, prepare the soap mixture for the second layer (this means repeating steps 3 to 8, but leave out steps 7-8 if you want to keep the second layer white and fragrance-free).
  12. Spray some rubbing alcohol into the half-filled cavities again before filling each one to the top with the second-layer soap mixture. Spray more rubbing alcohol to disperse any air bubbles.
  13. Wait a few hours for the soaps to harden, then you will be able to turn the soaps out of the mould.
  14. Now repeat steps 1 to 13 for your second lot of coloured letters, and so on!
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Waiting patiently for my soap letters to harden…
love_red
“L is for the way you look at me; O is for the only one I see…”